The hunt for housing: What to watch for

The apartment hunt can be the most perilous yet exciting time for college students. Whether you are signing a lease to get out of the dorms for your second year here or getting an upgrade from a cheap place, finding the right spot to live brings plenty of difficulties. 

When starting the search, the first step is to figure out who you plan to live with. This stage is probably the most indicative of what your year is going to look like. 

Be extremely cautious during the roommate vetting stage of living off campus. Be sure to make sure that the people you sign a lease with share lifestyle similarities. 

The first and maybe most important lifestyle question is partying. Do you like a quiet home to return to after a long day of classes, or do you like tearing it up with friends all night? If you and your roommates have differing opinions on this, there will be massive discomfort for everyone involved. 

Another main lifestyle question is that of cleanliness. Some people are clean freaks, and others are messy. It is vital for the health of a living situation for everyone involved in an apartment to communicate how they like the appearance of the apartment to be. Bonus points if one person makes the mess, and another roommate enjoys cleaning. 

Apart from the roommate search, there are a few more concerns to look for, including price of rent, distance to campus and parking. 

Figuring out your price range can be very difficult, especially if you are coming from living in the dorms with no job to suddenly having to pay month to month. 

It’s time to budget. 

Estimate how many hours you can work during the week and weekend. Be lenient with yourself. Going from having no job to having a full time job is a massive jump. It is recommended to be extremely conservative in your estimate, as you might find the workload can add up extremely quickly. 

Once you know the rough amount of hours you are able to work and how they will fit into your schedule, you can estimate how much money you will be making per month. 

Most apartments, depending on the complex, will cost anywhere from $300-$500 per month. Then you have to factor in the cost of utilities, which usually range from $30-$70, depending on how high you blast the AC. 

Another factor to think about is the distance to campus. Winters get cold here in ‘Kato, so the “walking distance” can get much shorter during those months. Be conscious of figuring out a way to campus, because parking passes can get spendy. 

Check and see if the potential apartment complexes are along the bus route, which can be a very valuable asset for off campus living. 

Another concern to think about is parking. Some apartments have an abundance of parking, while others always leave renters struggling to find a spot. Make sure to drive around their parking lots to get a good guess at their available spots during different times of day. 

Moving into a new apartment is a huge leap, and can be extremely exciting. Just be ready for the struggles that come along with it.

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